Flavors Developed from a Unique History
The traditional cuisine of Okinawa was developed during the Great Trade era of the 14th century through 16th century in the Ryukyu Kingdom to cater to Chinese envoys dispatched by the Chinese emperor, and it has since continued to evolve with influences from Japan and China among other Asian countries. The dishes are devised to be nutritionally balanced, combining the essence of ingredients rich in vitamins, such as bitter gourd and loofah, with pork that has been carefully prepared to break up the fat over a long period of time. The wisdom of ancestors who ate well and lived healthy lives remain in spirit in the traditional cuisine of Okinawa.
After the war, American food culture, represented in the “”canned pork,”” made its way into the diet and continues to be cherished to this day. Okinawan food culture openly accepted the influences brought upon by the changing times and is today a unique food culture that has created a variety of dishes.
Pork: the Ingredient that Okinawans Cherish
Okinawa Soba: the Soul Food That Okinawans Cannot Stop Loving
There is even data that suggests 150 thousand to 160 thousand meals of Okinawa soba are consumed every day, and it is no exaggeration to say that it is soul food for the people of Okinawa.
Awamori: Okinawan Liquor Known for Its Rich Aroma and Deep Flavor
It is the traditional spirit that dates back to the dynastic era, made by adding water and yeast to rice malt made with kurokoji mold and steamed rice (mostly Thai rice) and letting it ferment. Awamori aged for more than three years is called koshu (kusu), and the longer the storage years, the more it matures and the more enjoyable the rich aroma and mellow, deep flavor become. We want you to enjoy it with an assortment of Okinawan dishes.
The Everyday Meal of Okinawa: Champuru
Enjoying Tuna at Its Best throughout the Year
Column | Okinawan Cuisine as a Macrobiotic Diet
The traditional cuisine of Okinawa is based on the idea of ”food and medicine from the same source,” introduced from China, and in Okinawa, food that is good for the health is referred to as ”kusuimun (what makes medicine)” or “nuchigusui (life’s medicine),” evidently derived from that idea.
The potato, which used to be the staple food, contains dietary fiber, while pork was prepared carefully in a healthy way, breaking down the fat, and kelp, which is rich in calcium and iodine, was used as a solid ingredient rather than for stock.
In addition, among the ingredients used in Okinawa, there are many health foods, such as mozuku, which contains fucoidan, a substance that has anticancer properties and boosts the immune system, as well as shikwasa, which contains nobiletin, a substance that lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, and turmeric, which contains curcumin, a substance that increases liver function, all of which have likely contributed to the healthy lives among the people of Okinawa.
Even the brown sugar commonly eaten as snacks contains a large amount of minerals and nutrients. Not only are there many health foods among familiar ingredients, but many of the traditional dishes offer balanced nutrition in a single dish. It is no exaggeration to say the grace of the land and the wisdom of the ancestors have supported the longevity in Okinawa.
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- Traditional food culture in Okinawa